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Sport Buddy tip helps ready Taylor for AFL test

14:15  05 september  2021
14:15  05 september  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Sam Taylor is heeding AFL legend and childhood hero Lance Franklin's words of wisdom as he seeks to help GWS clasp onto a finals berth.

Dariusz Wdowczyk holding a football ball: Sam Taylor is ready to embrace another AFL challenge when GWS play defending premiers Richmond. © Hamish Blair/AAP PHOTOS Sam Taylor is ready to embrace another AFL challenge when GWS play defending premiers Richmond.

Taylor, fresh from a career-best performance against Tom Hawkins in the Giants' upset win over Geelong, faces another huge test in Friday night's clash with Richmond.

Tom Lynch looms as Taylor's likely opponent at Marvel Stadium, as was the case earlier this year, although he may also be called upon to spend time on Jack Riewoldt in a dress rehearsal for finals between sides sitting eight and tenth on the ladder.

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Taylor has become a dependable rock for GWS after a year from hell in which he lost 10kg and the capacity to walk while battling a debilitating bacterial infection that attacked his wrist, ankle, hip and back.

The 22-year-old, who clutched a staggering eight intercept marks last Friday, also spent almost two months on the sidelines this seasons because of an ankle syndesmosis injury that required surgery.

The backman was however fit for both Sydney derbies of 2021, during which Franklin kicked a combined nine goals.

Taylor, who grew up supporting Hawthorn and idolising Franklin, relished every contest with the four-time Coleman Medallist.

"He gave me a tip when I was playing on him. It was pretty funny," Taylor said.

"He was like 'do you want a tip?' and I was like 'of course' ... I thanked him.

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"The tip was making sure I get my body closer to his body. There was one instant in the last quarter where he pushed me over.

"Next time I play on him I'll be a little bit more comfortable, I've had my two warm-ups this year."

Taylor is softly spoken but has been far from intimidated this season, when asked to quell a diverse range of threats including Hawkins, Franklin, Lynch, Charlie Dixon, Taylor Walker and Nat Fyfe.

"The more you play on these players, the more comfortable and confident you get with being more aggressive and more attacking," he said.

"I've always been comfortable ... ever since the 2019 grand final against Dustin Martin. If you can play on him in a grand final, you can play on anyone.

"I don't really pinch myself, I love getting these challenges.

"Lynch is a great player, one of the best when he's up and going."

Toby Greene's appeal was dismissed on Thursday night, meaning GWS's stand-in skipper will be an enforced omission for the clash with Richmond.

But key forward Jesse Hogan, ruckman Shane Mumford, and ball magnets Josh Kelly and Jacob Hopper headline the Giants' six inclusions.

"It's a huge game .... and basically a first final for us," GWS coach Leon Cameron said.

The Tigers named an unchanged team.

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